To me, Montreal bursts at the seams with food. In the middle of the night Elvir and I wander in for bagels, to a room filled with laughter and hands skillfully rolling dough. Stepping around the man on the front stoop, vacuuming up sesame seeds from the day. Our bagel is pulled from a pile just knocked out of the oven. It’s sweet inside is just baked by fire and it’s chewy crust is pasted with musty sesame seeds. Greedily munching away on a midnight snack…
When traveling, eating is punctuation to the day. Sometimes it is a comma; a pause to regroup and reconsider everything. After a long day of walking, we decided to wander around Chinatown to find dinner. Calling out to us with bright lights and the promise of all-you-can-eat was Mongolian hot pot.
Hot pot is a mix of personal and communal, from the base soup to the ingredients chosen. His came loaded with cloves of garlic and whole chilis stripped of their seeds. Both of our pots wereboiling away with whole spices; sticks and pods floating around depositing flavour. As paper thin slices of beef and lamb cooked, the top of the soup was slowly coated with spots of shiny fat. We simmered substantial handmade noodles, wilted cilantro, cooked out the sulphury sweetness of crunchy daikon and cabbage.
An ! at the end of the day, to start off the night. (The night: mason jar lamps, music, locals, a sweaty bar, beer so hoppy I was almost convinced the suds were from soap.)
PS-I had the best hot chocolate of my life, a frothy blend of real dark chocolate and milk. It was served in small ceramic pitchers, each with a delicate spoon to coerce the thick mixture into your cup. The dark chocolate was lightly sugary, but mostly creamy and uniquely bitter, like you could taste the cocoa plant itself.